i stand before you to say 
that today i walked home
& caught the light through
the fence & it was so golden
i wanted to cry & i lifted 
my right hand to say thank
you god for the sun thank 
you god for a chain link fence
& all the shoes that fit into
the chain link fence so that
we might get lifted god thank
you & i just wanted to dance
& it feels good to have food
in your belly & it feels good
to be home even when home
is the space between metal
shapes & still we are golden
& a man who wore the walk
of hard grounds & lost days
came toward me in the street
& said ‘girl what a beautiful 
day’ & i said yes, testify
& i walked on & from some
place a horn rose, an organ,
a voice, a chorus, here to tell
you that we are not dead
we are not dead we are not
dead we are not dead we are
not dead we are not dead 
we are not dead we are not


Copyright © 2022 by Eve L. Ewing. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 28, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

In times of grief, it’s easy to take account of the world’s many hurts; poets like Ross Gay have taught me never to do so at the expense of its delights. I wrote this poem at the home of my dear friend Hanif Abdurraqib. It calls upon me to think of friendship and upon the reader to count the blessings of a day. It’s a nod to the Black church practice of testifying—of standing before a listener to bear witness to the ways you have been saved, blessed, and protected.”
Eve L. Ewing